Wednesday 14 October 2020 12:01 am

Swipe card: Social media accounts for quarter of all online purchases

Almost a quarter of all online purchases are now made through social media, new data has revealed, as more and more people use their favourite messaging platforms for shopping.

Research by Visa showed almost a fifth of Brits use social apps to shop, while one in 10 has made a purchase this way since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.

Read more: Bill Gates issues warning over spread of ‘titillating untruths’ on social media

Overall, 24 per cent of online purchases over the last six months came through a social media platform.

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have expanded their shopping services in recent years as they look to gain ground in the ecommerce market.

The research showed that clothing and accessories were the most popular purchases among social media buyers, accounting for 37 per cent of all transactions. This was followed by homeware and electronics.

But while the majority of online purchases are still made through traditional vendors, the growing popularity of social media shows no signs of slowing.

A survey of 2,000 UK consumers conducted by Opinium found that more than a third of people plan to keep buying through social media.

Respondents said the speed and convenience of social media shopping — as well as a desire to support independent businesses — were the main attractions.

However, experts urged shoppers to be cautious, as many scammers exploiting the Covid-19 crisis have moved online.

Read more: Tiktok proposes social media coalition as MPs grill app over online harms

Behavioural psychologist Emma Kenny said: “The way our minds are built means that when something is so fast and convenient, it can be easy for us to throw caution to the wind and forget the usual precautions. 

“Spend a few minutes before purchasing researching the website, influencer or company you are purchasing from to ensure it is legitimate.”

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